3 ways to improve your gut health
get your gut health in check!
Believe it or not, there are millions of microorganisms, both harmful and beneficial, lining our digestive tract. This is what is referred to as the gut microbiome, and our bodies need a balance of bacteria to thrive. The state of your gut impacts more than just digestion. In fact, studies show that a healthy gut is vital to overall health, from our brain and heart to our kidneys and lungs.
signs of poor gut health
We should all prioritize gut health, and those struggling with poor gut health may not even know it. Gut health imbalances can lead to problems with digestion, from food intolerances to digestive disorders. Constant gas, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea may be a sign that the gut is having trouble digesting and absorbing food. Outside of the digestive system, poor gut health can manifest as sleep disturbances, skin conditions, weight changes, and autoimmune disorders.
include prebiotics and probiotics in your diet
Adding prebiotics and probiotics into your diet, either as a supplement or through whole foods, is a safe and easy way to support gut health. The two work together to make sure the gut is flourishing with beneficial bacteria. Prebiotics are found in foods like bananas, onions, garlic, artichokes, and asparagus. Probiotics are found in fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, and kefir. You can also purchase supplements from your local supermarket or drugstore. For a deeper dive into prebiotics and probiotics, check out this blog post!
eat plenty of different fruits and vegetables
Diet diversity is one of the most important aspects of a healthy gut. Eating a vast range of fruits and vegetables diversifies the gut microbiome which is shown to be optimal for overall health. Try to designate half of every plate to fruits and vegetables. Another tip is to ‘eat the rainbow.’ Fruits and vegetables come in an array of colors that offer different nutritional benefits due to the different plant pigments they contain. You can read more about colorful plates in this blog post. Plus, trying new foods and rotating what we eat keeps our diets interesting and satisfying. Fruits and vegetables are also a great source of fiber which promotes bowel health and the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
stress less and sleep more
Factors outside of the diet can be just as noteworthy as those pertaining to what we eat. So stress less and sleep more! I know, easier said than done. Nevertheless, reducing the amount of stress in your life and getting adequate sleep is absolutely essential to supporting overall health. Allowing our bodies to rest amidst the craziness of everyday life eases digestion and boosts energy levels. Implement practices into your daily routine to alleviate stress and wind down. Most importantly, find what works for you. Some find peace in physical practices like yoga, meditation, or exercising. Others experience more success with social activities like hanging out with friends, spending time with family, or playing with their pets.
be mindful and do what you can
Spend some time thinking about realistic ways to improve your gut health. Remember that consistency and quality is more important than quantity! Take inspiration from the recommendations above, but don’t worry if some of them simply do not work for you. The goal is to try our best so we can feel our best!